Paul, Silas and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace and peace to you. 1 Thessalonians 1:1 NIV
We have a man who stands on a highway corner in our city most days. Rain, sunshine, hot or cold weather you can find him standing with a sign…Jesus will save you. People honk their horns to express agreement with the message. He responds by pointing his finger at your car, waving and giving a thumbs up.
I held his sign the other day, while we talked about his ministry. His home life included a Pastor father who read the Bible and prayed with him every night. He has a brother who is a pastor in North Carolina and a cousin who pastors a church in Tuscaloosa County. Although he stands alone most days, he actually is very well connected to others in the body of Christ.
This blog entry is the start of a verse by verse devotionary on Paul’s epistle or letter to the church of Thessalonica. As the title implies, we will learn together each Thursday about the Thessalonians. May we gain insights for our spiritual journey as we glean from one of Paul’s first letters to the churches.
Paul starts his letter to the Thessalonians by including his ministry partners, Silas and Timothy, who were present when the church was first established. You can find the history surrounding the birth of this city church in Acts 15-17 describing Paul’s second missionary journey.
When he arrived in the city, It is recorded that Paul spoke in the synagogues for 3 weeks and then was forced out of the city because of persecution. At best, he was present for 6 weeks before he left with his companions which also included Luke. Can you imagine organizing a church plant, installing leaders, and providing a course for spiritual growth with only 6 weeks of instructions? While he was making his way to Corinth, he sent Timothy back to Thessalonica to check on the church.
Timothy stayed and helped provide the structure for growth and endurance of continued persecution. The Holy Spirit was using the spiritual background of the monotheistic Jews and God-fearing Gentiles to establish this church. As we will learn there was a strong temptation to return to their old lifestyle before Christ.
Timothy arrived in Corinth to give a report to Paul who was anxious to hear how the church was surviving. This letter is his encouragement and response for them to remain faithful and committed to the gospel.
God never intended that we do ministry alone.
- Who are you doing ministry with?
- What team of people helped form your spiritual formation?
- Are there people in your past that need your ongoing encouragement? Have you contacted them lately?
- If you had 3 weeks to set the spiritual path for new believers, what would you include?
- What cautions would you share?
- What would be the most important elements of practice that the Holy Spirit could use to help them grow?
- Are you integrating these practices into your own life?
God uses spiritual habits and doctrines to feed and guide us on our spiritual journey. We receive these disciplines because of the faithfulness of Christian friends who made the sacrifice and effort to share the good news and spiritual life with us. Let us be found faithful in reaching our generation.
Blessings Love y’all